Types of Acne

by | Aug 20, 2020

Most people don’t know what happened to their faces. Whiteheads, papules, folliculitis, acne?

The following picture describes the different types of acne.

Different types of acne. Whiteheads and blackheads are non-inflammatory acne, and they are also the mildest grades of acne. Papules, pustules, nodules and cysts belong to inflammatory acne. Papules and pustules belong to moderate acne, and nodules and cysts belong to severe acne.

Medically, acne is divided into two categories, non-inflammatory lesion, and inflammatory lesion.

Non-inflammatory lesions are common whiteheads and blackheads. Non-inflammatory damage can be effectively resolved by using retinoid drugs or acid skin care products.

Papules, pustules, nodules, and other inflammatory lesions focus on inhibiting the reproduction and anti-inflammatory of Propionibacterium acnes, so combined treatment with antibacterial drugs and anti-inflammatory drugs is needed.

Currently, the Pillsbury classification method is most commonly used in the world to classify the severity of acne. According to the nature of skin lesions, acne is divided into 3 types of severity and 4 levels.

Acne classification is an important basis for acne treatment and efficacy evaluation. Doctors are more simple and convenient in clinical use, mainly according to the nature of skin lesions, acne is divided into 3 severity and 4 levels:

Pillsbury's 4-level taxonomy. Clinically, according to the severity of the disease, traditionally adopt the Pillsbury classification method can divide acne into the four levels. Mild I: Simple noninflammatory acne – comedones and a few papules. Moderate II: Comedones, papules and a few pustules. Moderate III: A lot of inflammatory papules, pustules, and a few nodules and cysts. A more severe form involving the face, neck, and upper portions of the trunk. Severe: More severe, with nodules and cysts becoming confluent.

Noninflammatory acne

Clogged comedones (whiteheads)

More whiteheads on the surface of the skin
The skin between the eyes and temples has more whiteheads and a few papules and pustules.

Whiteheads are pores blocked by keratinocytes, sebum, and dead cells are stuffed in the hair follicles, which are not connected to the outside world, forming clogged comedones. The exterior looks like a slightly raised white head.

Whiteheads are the most common type of acne and are prone to appear in all skin areas, including the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders, etc.

Many acne starts with inflammation of whiteheads, which are the initial symptoms of acne.

Do not squeeze whiteheads with your hands.

It is easy to break the skin barrier, and whiteheads can easily develop into inflammatory acne.

Unclogged comedones (Blackheads)

There was a lot of oil and the nose was covered with blackheads.

The pores of the blackhead communicate with the outside world, and the hair follicles are filled with sebum and dead cells, forming open acne. The appearance of blackheads looks like black dots of different sizes.

Blackheads usually appear on the forehead, nose, and other parts of the face.

Don’t squeeze blackheads with your hands. The hands are very unclean. If you forcefully squeeze out the blackheads, the pores and hair follicles will be compressed and deformed, and the same place will block the pores and become acne. If not handled properly, it will leave scars on the skin.

The difference between blackhead and whitehead. The pores of blackheads are not clogged, and the pores of whiteheads are clogged.

The same thing for whiteheads and blackheads is that the sebum plug in the hair follicle cannot be discharged. The difference is that the pores of the whitehead are covered, and the pores of the blackhead are not covered.

Inflammatory acne


Many papules on the cheeks
Numerous large-sized papules on the cheeks.

Papules are the slightest inflammatory lesions, ranging in size from rice grains to pea-sized hills, appearing pale red to dark red.

Papules develop from whiteheads. Because the pores are covered, the sebum secreted by the sebaceous glands cannot be discharged, and the proliferation of Propionibacterium acnes causes the non-inflammatory whiteheads to develop into inflammatory papules.

There is no pus inside the papules, its inflammatory response is weak, the number of bacteria multiplies is small, and some papules will further develop into pustular acne.

Papules are the most common type of inflammatory acne, usually appearing on the face, neck, back, chest, etc.


A pustule on the forehead with a white bump in the middle of the pustule. There were many whiteheads and papules around the pustule.

Pustules are the result of a further aggravating inflammatory response to papules.

The shape of the pustule is a raised white bump in the middle, red skin around the white protrusion, and flowing pus inside the white bump. Touch it lightly and you will feel pain.

After the pustules are eliminated, it is easy to leave pigmentations, and it may even leave depressed scars.


There's a large nodule near the eye.

The nodules feel like hard bumps, and they feel painful at the same time, with no pus inside.

The initial symptom is that it can be touched by hand, but it is not easy to see on the surface, and it will become red and swollen acne.

Nodules often appear between the chin and eyebrows.

It takes about a month to get rid of the nodules, and it will leave pigmentation after the nodules disappear, there is a high probability of leaving depressed scars. Because the inflammatory damage has already hurt the dermis. The picture above is the slightest nodule.

Nodular acne is a serious skin disease. If you have this disease, please see a dermatologist immediately.


A cyst has grown on the right side of the mouth. The size of the cyst is large and there is a lot of pus inside.

Cystic acne is larger than the nodules, soft to the touch, with a lot of pus in it, and can also feel pain.

The most severe acne in cysts,It is very difficult to eliminate. The cyst has invaded the deepest layer of the skin, and it will leave pigmentations or depressed scars.

Cysts will seriously damage your appearance. When you look in the mirror, you will feel that you are not good-looking. The self-confidence of yourself is beaten into low self-esteem, sensitive, and depressed women.

Cystic acne is a very serious skin disease. If you have this disease, please see a dermatologist immediately.

How to Prevent Acne?

When the number of inflammatory acne on your face is greater than or equal to 5, please see a dermatologist immediately.

Keep the face clean. Wash your face twice a day with a gentle amino acid facial cleanser, while doing a good job of moisturizing.

Reasonable diet. Eat more vegetables and fruits, not milk, and eat less high-fat and high-sugar foods.

Don’t squeeze acne with your hands. Squeezing acne breaks the skin barrier and exacerbates inflammation. There are a lot of bacteria on the hands, which can easily cause secondary infections.

Don’t stay up all night and keep happy.

Pay attention to sun protection and avoid ultraviolet radiation on the skin.

Clean bed linen frequently to avoid facial contact with bacteria.